COP26: Why It Matters To All Schools

It's the topic on everybody's lips: COP26

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is a gathering of the parties involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) – a treaty formed in 1994. This will be the 26th meeting of the parties, and they'll be hosting this historic event in Glasgow over the coming weeks.

What will these parties be discussing?

The197 parties involved will be working together to realise the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; to keep the temperature of the planet under control – limiting its increase to 1.5 degrees- the science dictates that by 2050, we must be producing less carbon than we take from the atmosphere. This is what reaching 'net zero' means.

The world is slowly moving towards a lower carbon future:

  • The cheapest source of electricity is clean energy; generated by wind and solar.
  • Car manufacturers are focusing on electric and hybrid cars, the UK Government are even proposing that all new cars will be electric by 2050.
  • In the last 9 years, the UK has decreased its reliance on coal power by 38% and will phase its usage to zero by 2024.

What outcomes will COP26 aim to deliver?

  • Globally, there is a goal to achieve net zero by 2050 and keep the rise in temperature to below 1.5 degrees; countries will need to accelerate how they phase out the use of coal, invest in renewable energy, prevent deforestation, and make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric cars.
  • Protect and adapt to sustain communities and natural habitats. We can all see how the climate is changing with devastating results; ecosystems are being destroyed, infrastructure isn't in place to support agriculture and homes are being destroyed.
  • Working together. The climate emergency will not be dealt with by one or even two countries, by encouraging collaboration and communication between governments, businesses and society, COP26 will enable us all to meet our climate goals faster.

How can you get involved?

  • Encourage students to walk or cycle to school, if they can
  • Engage with renewable energy experts to learn about their jobs
  • Learn about local farmers and the challenges they face
  • Why not utilise the MoneySense Climate Change Detectives activity and challenge learners to find ways to fight climate change in their own homes
  • If your school doesn't yet have an eco-committee, by raising awareness of recycling and reducing waste learners can be responsible for ensuring its place in their environment.
  • The Young Enterprise Scotland Circular Solutions Challenge encourages students to design a waste-free world
  • Why not learn about the impact fast fashion has on the economy with Apparel Xchange's Fair Fashion resource?

Handy hashtags

  • #RaceToZero
  • #OneStepGreener
  • #TogetherForOurPlanet
  • #OurDearGreenPlace

Helpful resources

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